David Rose supported by Isabel

My journey

Educated at Pocklington School (near York) and Durham University, David served in the British Army for 34 years. He was commissioned into the Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) in 1979 but also served secondments to 10th Gurkha Rifles and the 1st Battalion the King's Regiment. As well as time at Regimental duty he has filled appointments at the MOD, in Army Headquarters and the Permanent Joint Headquarters, finishing his Army career in the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. His service has seen him based all over the world, including Brunei, Cyprus, Germany, Hong Kong, India and Northern Ireland, while also deploying on operations including: Afghanistan, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Pakistan and Sierra Leone. 

As a veteran I know that if I need support SSAFA will be there to help me and my family. I have seen the support they give and know colleagues who are case workers for SSAFA. SSAFA is the "Armed Forces Charity"

After a 34-year Army career, then working with Babcock International Group, and a life time of physical activity, aged 60 I was diagnosed in February 2020 with motor neurone disease (MND).

  • MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.
  • It attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. MND does not usually affect the senses such as sight, sound, feeling etc. It has no cure.
  • A person's lifetime risk of developing MND is around 1 in 300. It affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time. Six people per day are diagnosed with MND in the UK.
  • It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. Over 80% of people with MND will have communication difficulties, including for some, a complete loss of voice.
  • It kills a third of people within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis. It kills six people per day in the UK, this is just under 2,200 per year.

In my case in 2018 I was getting micro-cramps and annoyingly my daughter beat me up Snowdon, I put it down to age! In 2019 I suffered from increasingly bad cramps, and by October 2019 I could barely lift my right arm out of the water when swimming freestyle. Over 6 weeks I went from being able to do 50 sit ups to zero. But it still took until February 2020 to diagnose the cause. As of today my hands and arms are increasingly useless, I cannot open a bag of crisps, and writing and eating are becoming more difficult. I am exhausted getting dressed, cannot get out of a bath and my legs are increasingly tired. Every day my physical condition deteriorates a little bit more. But many are so much worse due to the rapid speed of the disease.

The NHS support in Dorset, even during the pandemic, has been fantastic they have been so supportive, informative and caring. They have provided a dedicated MND nurse, access to occupational therapists and physios. I could not have asked for more.

My local MND Association has provided me with advice, guidance and support from a podiatrist, to voice banking and, nationally, they are sponsoring important research and providing practical guidance. You may have seen the MND Association fundraising campaigns the "Ice Bucket challenge", those by Doddie Weir and Rob Burrows and the recent Spennylympics. 

                    BBC interview with David